How to Help Your Children Stay Healthy and Avoid Diabetes

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If you are a parent of children aged 8 to 12 that have type 2 diabetes, then this article will be able to help you with getting your children to engage in physical activities and consume a healthy diet.

You will also know more about diabetes and why other children aren’t prone to it.

Type 2 Diabetes 101

If you have type 2 diabetes, your blood sugar levels are elevated beyond the norm. If they remain high for a period of time, the damage can be massive and affect your kidneys, eyes, heart, nerves, and many others. It is a serious disease that warrants immediate attention.

Why are some children more susceptible to getting type 2 diabetes?

  • If they have a close relative, i.e., parents or siblings, with diabetes
  • If they are overweight
  • If they are not physically active
  • If they weighed more than 9 pounds at birth
  • If the mother had gestational diabetes
  • If they are American Indian, Alaska Native, African American, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander

How can you help your children?

  • The children should engage in physical activities daily.
  • The diet should consist of healthy meals and snack.
  • Empower your children by teaching them to read food labels and pinpoint which foods are healthy and which aren’t by taking them grocery shopping.
  • Portions of salty, sugary, and fatty foods should be limited.
  • TV, tablet, computer, or phone times should be no more than two hours daily.
  • Seek your doctor’s advice if the children’s weight is unhealthy and the odds of them getting type 2 diabetes are high.
  • Change should start with you. Show your children how to eat healthy and be active.

How can children become healthy?

  • Engage in physical activities daily.
  • Eat healthy.

What can children do to be more active?

You can’t force your children to do activities that they don’t find engaging so it’s important to know what is fun for them. Suggest these, do it with them, and see how they respond:

  • Bike riding
  • Dancing
  • Basketball
  • Skateboarding
  • Jumping rope
  • Swimming
  • Going for walks with family members

How long should the children be physically active?

The ideal length is an hour a day. It could be split twice a day, 30 minutes each, or even thrice a day, 20 for minutes.

Gradually introduce activities to them if they aren’t used to it. The important thing is to always keep moving. More activities can be added each week depending on how they tolerate each.

Why do they need to be active?

When the children are active, they will be able to:

  • Develop muscles and get rid of the extra fat
  • Get stronger bones and be flexible
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Why is it important for your children to eat well?

  • So that they can choose good food.
  • They can consume healthy food.
  • They can adopt healthy eating habits.

What makes good food choices?

Have a conversation with your children and ask them what they can do to eat healthier. Add your opinion and make the list together. Include these tips:

  • High-fiber foods like whole grain bread and cereal, fruits, vegetables, beans, and brown rice should be eaten
  • Foods low in saturated and trans fats like chicken sans the skin, lean meat, fish, nonfat cheese, milk, and yogurt should be included in the diet
  • Avoid fried foods and eat grilled, baked, or broiled more often
  • Limit salt intake and don’t add extra salt to food
  • Enjoy green leafy vegetables, carrots, tomatoes, and make a salad
  • Avoid sugary drinks and drink water instead

What are examples of healthy snacks?

  • Fruit, like bananas or apples
  • One toasted slice of bread with a tbsp. of peanut butter
  • One cup of nonfat or low-fat yogurt
  • Carrots, celery, or any raw vegetables with salsa

Examples of healthy eating habits for your whole family:

  • Ensure that you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, daily. No skipping meals.
  • Portions of meals should be limited. Half should be fruits and vegetables, a quarter should be whole grain like brown rice, and the other quarter should be lean meat like chicken or turkey without skin.
  • Include a cup of nonfat or low-fat milk with meals.
  • Desserts and sweets should only be given, at most, twice a week
  • No TV or other devices during meals should be turned on.

One more thing

A healthy snack that you can make with your children:

Mixed Fruit Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup of nonfat  low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup of skim milk
  • 1 cup of frozen fruit (try berries or peaches)
  • 1 banana

Place all ingredients in the blender. Mix until there are no more big chunks. Pour into glasses to serve.

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